Questions to Ask a Breeder

When searching for a puppy, there are several things you want to ask a prospective breeder before making a purchase. One of the first questions to ask is how he or she came to breed this particular type of dog. What first attracted them to the breed? You may be surprised by the sheer amount of knowledge the breeder has about a particular breed, and how passionate they are about their dogs and puppies.

How long has he or she been breeding, or breeding the particular type of dog you are interested in? Have they shown their dogs? Some breeders don’t actually show their own dogs, but they breed them for others to show. And if the breeder has shown dogs, don’t be surprised if he or she wants to show off the trophies!

How many litters do they typically breed per year? More than one or two planned litters a year may indicate your breeder is breeding for profit.

Most breeders register their dogs with one organization, such as the AKC. Have all the dogs and puppies been registered with the American Kennel Club, or another organization? Be wary of anyone who says their dogs are registered with several different organizations, like the AKC and the UKC. This could mean there have been problems in the past, and they may be prohibited from registering with the AKC.

Ask the breeder if you can see the mature dogs when you visit. Because they are so proud of their dogs, most breeders will invite you to see all of them! If you are refused, walk away. This could mean there is a problem. One of the dogs may be a biter or have a bad temperament, and this could be the parent of the litter you in which you are interested. Not allowing you to see other dogs is not a sign of a good breeder.

Ask about possible health issues and health guarantees. Some breeder’s will warrant their puppies against certain health issues for a certain amount of time. Ask if the puppies’ sire and dam have been OFA (Orthopedic Foundation Association) tested for common diseases of the breed. Take time to research the common health problems of the breed you are interested in and how they are inherited.

Most breeders will have you sign a contract which clearly spells out the purchasing agreement. Ask questions and make sure you understand exactly what you are signing before you sign.

If you find a breeder you are comfortable with and you decide to purchase a puppy, the breeder should give you care instructions. Make sure he or she tells you about proper equipment, feeding and grooming. Also, make sure to ask the breeder about the first night home with your new puppy. Breeds vary in how they respond to separation from parents and littermates, so make sure the breeder explains the best way to care for your puppy in his new home – yours! Don’t be surprised if the breeder cries when you leave.

Breeders are running a business, but a lot of time, care, and love go into that business. Just like any other business they want to know how you heard about them. Be sure to mention to the breeder where you got his or her name, be it a friend or relative, the AKC or its website, another breeder, or Cherrybrook!